Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1996/11/23

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Subject: Experience with M4-2
From: Thomas Anderson <>
Date: Sat, 23 Nov 1996 10:06:31 -0600

        David wrote about his experience with a "mint in the box" M4-2 Leica
with a sleepy shutter and an in-operable bright  frame preview selector.
        Please understand that this is not unusual and is no reflection on
the mechanical ability of the M4-2 compared to other M models. Mechanical
cameras, particularly high quality models profit from frequent exercise and
occasional tune-up by qualified technicians. your M4-2 that
has rested in the box for a couple of decades are often sleepy.
        If the camera is destined for the collector's shelf.... leave it
alone. Original factory condition is important enough to many collectors to
mean a premium price. 
        If the camera is going to be put to work.... get the tune up. A
couple of years back I interviewed Don Goldberg of DAG for the LHSA's
Viewfinder publication. Don recommends that the mechanical Leicas be
serviced every three years or so.... without regard to how often they are used.
        A few thoughts about the M4-2..... the camera is not a favorite of
collectors.  That means that it's priced lower than many of the earlier M's
in similar condition. But that might change with time. If you can afford to
tuck your M4-2 away in factory condition you will probably be well rewarded
in time.  
        Mechanically the M4-2 has a few slight differences from the "Classic
M" era (up to the M4). But these differences should in no way affect the
ability of the camera to perform.. If you are going to use the camera tune
it up and enjoy it.
        Another thought.... there's nothing quite like a  user Leica. Very
high mileage Leica M's are a special delight. My favorite user is a M3 from
1963 that has seen thousands of feet of film. It was in daily use by a hard
working othodonisist before retiring.  I've shot it extensively for five
years and it will likely outlast me.  If you have a chance to photograph
with a well worn Leica try it... they are very special instruments. I'm
never afraid to recommend that someone purchase a well worn Leica M if the
viewfinder housing is in good shape and the viewfinder is bright. Consider
leaving  the like new and mint equipment for the collectors' shelves and
enjoy a hard working classic..      

Tom Anderson