M3 and M4-P

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by rui_lebreiro, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Hi,
    Looking at the Leica line-up, of course i'd love the exposure measure M6 provides, however it's too expensive for me.
    I've been looking at some M2/3/4, and now i'm checking both a M3 and a M4-P that seem in pretty good shape and working order.
    My point it, once i won't have exposure measurement on either, what do I gain in picking M4-P over M3 ?
    I shot mainly in the 28-50mm range, so i really would love the 28mm frame. Above 90mm, i don't care.
    Thanks in advance,
  2. You gain a newer shutter curtain and a RF not put together with canadian balsam cement which is now old enough to fail. Both are expensive repairs.
    You loose the smooth brass gears in the transport and more accurate frame lines found in the M3. The M4P does not have the part in the VF that prevents RF white out under certain conditions. A 28 mm frame line is difficult to see unless it is a .58 mag vf which was not offered in M4P.
    They are both old enough to probably require a relube or cla. Count on it.
  3. bms


    you got some great B&W's online. Did you take those with a DSLR? Cannot wait for some film work of yours....
    I just recently got a M4 - of course no 28mm frame lines, but 35mm is wide enough for me. Have you considered a Bessa R4M or R4A? Frame lines from 21 to 50.... seems made for you. Will cost you less than a used M3.... I have not used teh Bessa myself, but maybe other can enlighten you here....
  4. M4-P is a newer model. M4-P is basically a meterless M6, and from a somewhat more modern age than an M3. The M4-P gives the same framelines (6 of them) in the viewfinder- 2 at a time- as the M6. If you really lust after an M6 but can't afford one, get the M4-P. For around $100 or a bit more (used), you can get a modern Voightlander (Cosina-Voightlander, or C-V) meter that will clip onto any camera's hotshoe or coldshoe, no matter how new or old the camera is. For the M4-P, you can get leica's own Leicameter MR or MR4 meter, which will clip onto the hotshoe, but has one big advantage- it will snap right onto the M4-P's shutter speed dial and will, in a sense, couple its readings directly to the camera.
    I suggest you go to cameraquest.com and read up on the various Leica M cameras and meters and accessories. It's a great resourse and run by a fine person and salesperson, Stephen Gandy.
  5. A good used M6 shouldn't cost much more than an M4-p, and it's a buyer's market right now.
  6. i have a m4-p and i do really really love it ....
    here is my photo album.You can see the pics of this camera.And i got it with a very good price.360pounds.
  7. If a M6 is too expensive for you, if anything goes wrong with your purchase, you'll be in more financial trouble. Consider buying a Voigtlander camera. A R2A, R2M, R3A, R3M, R4A, R4M. They are vastly underrated. If I had to buy again, I would buy them, and not Leica M bodies.
    If you shoot wides, the R4's are the best rangefinders for wide film usage. If you buy new, you won't need a CLA, which is pretty much guaranteed with buying a used camera, maybe not when you buy it, but sometime soon. Here are some websites for further research:
    Rangefinder literature, quite a lot:
    This site has almost every brand of camera and company:
    Best of luck with your decision!
  8. Hi,
    I recommend the M2 for your stated shooting requirements. It will do 28 to 90 effectively. By using the outside of the 35 framelines you will get an accurate representation of the 28mm framelines. It works well; if you shoot the 28mm a lot, you can even temporarily tape or place a finger over the corrigated brightline window and you will have a perfectly clean VF from which to frame your 28mm shots. The single framelines for the 35/50 and 90 are a dream. The build quality is top shelf. Count on getting a CLA. But it will serve you very well; and if you don't like it, you'll be able to sell it for roughly what you paid.
  9. Get the M4-P; stay away from the M3 if you like 28mm's ... unless you like using auxillary finders.
    I shoot much the same focal length range that you shoot and am very happy shooting with M2's, M4's, M6's and Bessa R / R2's. Any of those will serve you well over the 28 to 50mm range. I find I can shoot 28mms without an auxillary finder on the M2's, M4's and Bessas just using the whole finder area. Yes, the .72 M2 and M4 finder area is a snick tight for the 28mm, but I've never had a problem. The .7 Bessa R/R2 finder is great for the 28mm. I wear glasses; I do fine. Try it yourself and shoot some test rolls ... take the machines out for a spin.
    Bessas are wonderful shooters ... but they don't have the build quality of an M2. Pick up an M2 and it's a brick; there are 3,000 parts in it. Pick up a Bessa ... wonderful machine ... but it is a Mattel. Probably 600 parts in it. I've had an M2 bumping around a Nikon F with both slung over my shoulder and it holds its own. I would feel nervous about the Bessas ... not necessarily body wear, but things like rangefinder alignment and such. Go down to the store and test drive the machines on the used shelf. Pick up a Nikon F, Canon F1, and a Leica M2 ... then pick up a Bessa. You will know what you like.
  10. Ray, check your figures. There is a difference in prices. If its a buyer's market, then it's a buyers market for both the M4-P and the M6. My experience shows that a really nice M4-P is around $800 and an M6 is $1200 to $1300. Not that small of a difference if you're on a tight budget as Rui seems to be.
  11. The M4-P are great cameras. Ive owned two early examples and never a problem. $800 is about accurate for a good one. As stated above, the M4-P is basically an M6 without a meter.
  12. I think you can find an affordable m6 if you look for it!!a lot of users m6 on ebay!!!go for it!!
  13. Hi Rui,
    If it were my decision, I would save for a while longer then buy a metered M6 or even better (newer so less chance of needing money spending on it) the M6-TTL. Otherwise, you will not be happy and end up selling in a year or two to change over, which will cost more in the long run.
  14. Rui, for $500 - $700 you can get a late ('63 or later) model M2 which, IMHO, is the best M ever made. I second what Thomas & Frederick say about the 28mm frameline; in addition, I use the modestly-priced, but excellent 28mm 1:2.8 Elmarit R with Leica adapter 22228 as my 28/M2 combo. Sometimes I add the overpriced metal Leica 28mm viewfinder, sometimes not. In any case, after so many years with too many Leicas, the only M I cherish is the M2.
  15. I think maybe the Voigtlander R4m would be to your liking its there wide angle rangefinder. It has a good meter and the internal frame lines are for 21 thru 50mm lenses. This is the only camera I know of that has 21mm and 24/25mm lens coupling. This eliminates need for external vf.

    If you are a collector like Paul that is one thing but if you want to apply your cash towards lenses and not CLA's and want something new with a warrantee for about $600 that includes a good meter the Voigtlander R4m will get you started without first getting a finder and a meter.
    I wear glasses and my M4P 28mm frame lines are hard to see without shifting my eye allignment around to see the corners of the eyepiece. Their is not enough eyepoint to see the entire frame easily on the M4P.
  16. jbm


    I have been looking at the Voigtlanders as an option after falling in love with rangefinders via my little Leica CL.
    If you are starting and do not want to make a huge investment, the CL is not a bad choice, by the way. It has framelines for 50, 40, 90 and the edge of the viewfinder is pretty good for a 28. Some people say the short base makes focusing inaccurate but I have been sretty comfortable with mine and have missed focus on very few shots. Take a look at my portfolio and all the recent shots are from the CL. The Summicron 40/2 is superb.
    That said, I am looking to get a Voigtlander versus Zeiss Ikon for another option.
  17. Get a clean, recently CLA'd M4-2 or an early 2 lug M5 black chrome. Both excellent and undervalued M cameras. Make sure the M5 has been converted to 1.5v batteries as well. You won't be sorry. If you want to spend a bit more then either get a clean CLA'd M6 (non TTL) or the 3 lug M5 black chrome. In any case do your homework really well since there are so many variations on Leica Ms as well as a steep drop in price for "user" cameras. You should go talk to a good Leica dealer in your area.
  18. Please stay away from early M4-2 cameras. I have had both early and late M4-2s and the early one went back and forth like a yo-yo to a good Leica repair tech. Poor chap used to have a full head of hair. Only buy an early M4-2 if you are trying to fill out your collection.
    I have not been looking lately but sub $1000US user M6s used to be around.
  19. Too bad about your troubles, but anyone can get a dog. The M4-2 is a good camera, early or late.
  20. John Collier,
    When Gerry wasn't working on your M4-2, he was probabaly working on mine. They travelled an awful lot. I had two that had to have the rangefinders replaced with M4 finders, and then they were fine.
  21. I agree with Paul I myself have an M2 currently after using M6, M6 TTL, M4, M4p. The shutter release on M2/M3 is swift and frame lines are simple to deal with. You get one frame at a time so no cluttering. I would get M2 for wide angle and M3 for normal to telephoto shootings. I think Leica tried to re-create that m2/m3 look and feel with the MP and MP3 but they don't feel the same like the originals.
  22. M2 can work ok for a 28; ignore the framelines and use the entire finder. You will learn what fits pretty quickly.If the lines are distracting, put a bit of tape over the frameline illumination window.

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