Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/06/05

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Subject: Re: [Leica] M4-2
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 14:57:57 EDT


It seems as if you have a few of the details of the M4-2 mixed up with the
M4-P and M6 cameras.

There were no M4-2's made with the cast zinc top plate.  All M4-2's had black
chrome plated brass top plates and a very few were chrome.  The transition to
cast zinc came with the late M4-P.  Zinc is much stronger and resistent to
dents than brass.  It does not allow the fine detailing that the M3 had on its
top plate and it is probably cheaper than brass.

The PVC body covering did not start until the M6.  All M4-2's and M4-P's had
vulcanite body coverings.

Self timer was deleted as a cost saving measure.  At the time Leitz said it
was deleted to allow fitting of the motor winder.  This is simply not true, as
the space for the self timer is present in the body casting.

The hot shoe had to be changed to accomodate the hot shoe - not to cheapen it.

The film reminder "dial" was also a cost saving measure.

The M4-2 is the least loved of the M models, apart from the M1 and has so-so
reputation for reliability.  I have had one since 1978 and have never had a
problem with it, even after I bounced it off a railroad track in Germany.  Top
badly dented, PC contact broken off in back (cheaper plastic  PC board) but it
still took pictures for the remainder of the trip.  
Insiders from Midland acknowlege there were problems with the M4-2, but this
is strange, since Midland built the last of the M4's, the black chrome
versions.  The M4-P was much improved.
We owe a debt of gratitude to Midland, because without them there would no
longer be an M camera from Leica.  Wetzlar was ready to drop the M after the
M5 fiasco and Midland continued the line until the M6 came out.

Bill Rosauer