Leica M4-2 Variations

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by carlo_caimi, Jan 9, 2003.

  1. Although nearly all M4-2's are of Canadian origin, a certain number
    were produced in Wetzlar. Does someone know the numbers, series and
    whatever differences, from the canadian production, of the german M4-
  2. Carlo: according to the serial number list at cameraquest.com, all the M4-2s were Ernst Leitz/Canada (ELC) - I've never heard of any Wetzlar M4-2s myself (which, of course, doesn't PROVE none were made).

    There were a few black chrome original M4s made in Canada in the early 70s, and cameraquest lists the following for M4-Ps:

    "3/4/1986 M4-P ELW [Wetzlar], 270 of which are M6, but numbers not recorded, Canada engraving, 1691951 to 1692950."
  3. Carlo. There are many many variations of the Leica M4-2 camera (far more than one would ever imagine given that the camera was only produced from 1978-1980 [the earliest have SNs dating to 1977]). However, to my knowledge, no cameras were actually PRODUCED in Wetzlar, all were made in Canada.

    The confusion is because some were engraved on the top plate Leitz Wetzlar, though they were also engraved "Canada" or "Made in Canada" or some such elsewhere. There are at least 5-6 variations of the engravings, very unusual considering the short life of the camera.

    The following additional variations of the M4-2 are documented: 1) earliest cameras, some 90-95 or so, all with the SN 1468xxx, have the red Leitz metal circle ("red dot") on the front vulcanite; 2) small details including the lens lock release button and a condenser lens in the rangefinder mechanism were changed from early to later production; 3) there was g gold plated M4-2 (Barnack commemorative) issued with matching gold 50/1.4 Summilux in 1979; and 4) there were small numbers of chrome M4-2s issued (but never catalogued), which turn up for sale from time to time. These were made on special request. Undoubtedly there are other variations of the M4-2 out there.
  4. "earliest cameras, some 90-95 or so, all with the SN 1468xxx"

    And these serial numbers are officially listed as allocated to R3 production.
  5. John. Yes, these serial numbers are officially listed as belonging to R production but were used, in part, for early M4-2s (1977 production). I have camera number 1468003, and it is indeed an M4-2. Lager also pictures camera number 1468122 and it is an M4-2 (see Lager Vol. I, Cameras). I am also aware of some higher SN cameras within the range of SN 1468xxx eg., one with SN 14688xx) that is an M4-2. There are quite a few M4-2s within this range that was originally allocated to the R3 production.
  6. I notice that some MD-2 cameras (finderless technical versions of the M4-2) WERE made in Wetzlar (per Laney) from 1981-87. And some were also made in Canada - all of which increases the potential for confusion...
  7. Sorry Eliot!

    I was not trying to imply you were mistaken. I was trying to point out yet
    another oddity in the weird and wonderful world of Leica. Leica often uses
    serial numbers allocated to other cameras for the first run of a new product.
    Another example is the some of the serial numbers used for the M6 HM
    (classic not the TTL 0.85).


    In his book on cameras, Lager shows an M4 camera with a red dot, hot shoe
    and a six frame finder!
  8. John. Yes, Leica does exactly what you say. In fact, The SN range 1468xxx (which are listed as all being R3s) in factual fact contains M4-2s and R3s and MD-2s, three different camera models! Go figure. Yes, there are MD-2s in that same range.
  9. Like a dummy, I sold mine. Then I spilled for an M-A black chrome. Oh yeah.
  10. After 45 years of use, I sent my M4-2 to Gus Lazzari for his CLA service and viewfinder/rangefinder modification. Mine is serial No.1,505402 with the top plate lettered with just the white Leitz logo to the left of the hot shoe showing the engraved serial number. The right hand backside of the top plate is lettered CANADA in small white paint. There are no other markings anywhere on the exterior of the camera. Until reading the above, I was not aware that the M4-2 had such a short manufacturing history with such a list of variants. Am I in error to observe that some of the M4-2 did not have vulcanite, but leatherit covering?

    A bit off topic, but in addition to the CLA, I asked Gus to install the viewfinder/rangefinder modification parts kit that almost completely eliminated the frustrating tendency of the M4-2 rangefinder to flare out which prevented any focusing. Gus was also able to smooth both the shutter release and the film advance lever functioning. Criticism by an owner of his rough feel and operating M4-2 with a flare out rangefinder should be discounted if the M4-2 in question hasn't had a complete CLA and installation of the kit. Instantly apparent on mine post CLA was the resulting overall refinement.

    However to a certain group of Leica users I highly recommend the camera despite the undeserved Leica stepchild reputation. If you are a left eyed user, like myself, you can acquire a left hand operated baseplate Leicavit or Rapidwinder trigger film/cocking winder that means a lefty doesn't have to take his left eye from the camera just to cock a shutter and advance film. The winders adds little weight or size to the camera. Also available is a baseplate battery motor winder. As the viewfinder window when mounting a 35mm lens is mostly uncluttered, it is now my primary film camera for that focal length.
  11. The M4-2 had vulcanite from the factory, but it wasn't the same vulcanite used on prior M cameras.

    On a side-note, in spite of the fact early M4-2 cameras (the first 100 or so) had "Leitz Wetzlar" stamped (not engraved) on their topcovers, all M4-2 cameras were made in the Midland plant in Canada.
  12. mine is from 1978
    James Bryant and ericphelps like this.

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