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When were the best Leicas made?


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"The M5 is actually equal to the M4 in mechanical specification, plus it has some very unique and user-friendlyt features (not counting the meter)such as the most ergonomic shutter speed dial of any M, speeds shown in the finder, speeds settable in *linear* fashion between marked stops, meter area for all focal lengths easily delineated in the finder without guesstimation, and a ratcheted crank rewind."

 

That's the most compelling summary of an M5 I've ever read, it's pretty much the only Leica I've never used, after reading that I'd like to give one a test drive!

 

But what's UV curable cement, and why is it an improvement?

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Ah David, way to start a great debate. I don't know what "the best" means. My M4 is a workhorse which I hope never dies, but, I have a IIIa which my uncle brought back from Germany when it was new, and I inherited it. It works beautifully, 66 years after it was built. Its been 'repaired' twice in that period, and CLA'd 2 or 3 times.

If you are talking convenience and flexibility, my M7 is it. Time will tell if its built as well as the early Ms and my IIIa.

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<<That's not correct. The body is made from different metals, the wind and rewind are different,the covering is not the same , and the camera was the result of ALL the components being assessed and re-engineered if necessary , based on the experience of Leica's repair department.The shutter assemblies were re-worked and the exposure meter completely redesigned, now not needing a potentiometer, along with the viewfinder changes you mention.

 

 

This is from Leica, and unless you have proof that they are lying, what some well respected tech's opinion is, means precious little. Potential buyers may be misled and put off purchasing because of this type of mis-information. >>

 

ROFLMAO! Sounds like you're bucking for Erwin's job as chief shill. If you actually swallow all that marketing hype whole, I've got a really nice bridge over in NYC for sale...

 

My info *does* come from Leica, from the person who works for Leica repairing them under warranty...who BTW says nobody from Solms design team ever asked for his input into what improvements to put in the upcoming MP. And I said "Aside from the rangefinder upgrade AND THE METER CIRCUIT the MP is ALMOST unchanged from the M6 classic". We all know about the regressive wind and rewind, and the bathtub-strip body cover. The so-called shutter improvements are pure marketing fantasy, also according to the *Leica*-employed service tech.

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<<But what's UV curable cement, and why is it an improvement?>>

 

Since the late 60's it has become standard practice for lens manufacturers to use bond lens elements together using an optical cement which is cured under intense UV light...similar to the resins used in dental bonding. These cements do not deteriorate with age (at least not within several human lifetimes)and do not crack with stress from expansion and contraction due to climatic temperature changes within a fairly wide range. Prior to using that type of cement most lens elements were cemented with balsam, which does break down with age and stress, which is why you see lens separation in lenses over 35-40 years old but rarely in newer ones. The impact on M cameras is that starting with the M4 this cement was used to join the halves of the rangefinder prism; the prisms in M2 and older bodies which were done with balsam are almost all now beginning to decement...those that aren't one might suspect may have been replaced when Leica still had parts for the M2 and M3 rangefinders. Once they ran out they began forcing hapless customers with decemented prisms to pay over $500 plus labor to retrofit M4-2 rangefinders. There are now a couple of repairpeople who resilver and recement the prisms, but it isn't cheap either.

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Jay

 

In your original comment regarding your Leica tech., you said he worked for a Leica distibutor, now you say he works for Leica, doing their warranty work ? A distributor is not Leica! and as the USA is not Leica's only (or biggest) market ,there is no reason why Leica should ask your informant for his opinion, they were referring to Leica (Solms) repair department.

 

 

My reference to this matter was in response to your incorrect statement, not my trying to propagate a pet theory. They do say attack is the best form of defence, don't they.

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I owned an M5, which I found rather ugly compared to the M3, so I dumped it and stayed faithful to my M3. I am used to using a hand held spotmere anyways, so not having a built-in meter does not bother me in any way. The M3 is both functionally near-perfect, and cosmetically beautiful. Add to it its historical role as the first M series Leica, and its established ruggedness and precision, it is hard to beat by any other Leica camera. Its drawback is ... ??? ... I can't think of any drawbacks right now ;-)
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My favorite time is now, no doubt about it. I wasn't really sold on the M6TTL, but now that it's history and we've got the MP and M7, things seem right.

 

In terms of sheer mechanical beauty however, I'd pick a late '50s double-stroke M3. Very nice and costly details on that camera including a bright spun metal finish on the shutter dial, and little ball bearing catches on the rear door which are missing on later M3s. But as a user? Ah, not when I have an M6. With use, an M6 becomes nice and smooth, and better yet, it's gears are steel, not brass.

 

As far as digital goes, who says you can't keep a digital camera for 10 years or more? I think many have the potential to last a whole lot longer than folks think.

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