Jun 2, 2012

Film Cameras For Lovers - Leica M4 (Photo Gear 15)


The Leica M4 was introduced in 1967.
It combined some of the features of previous models, the Leica M3 and M2: the viewfinder - magnification 0,72 - was the most complete of them all, having the frames for the 35, 50, 90 and 135mm lenses (M3 = 50, 90 and 135mm; M2 = 35, 50 and 90mm).
On the Leica M4, the 35mm and the 135mm brightlines appear together. They appear automatically when you insert a certain lens, or you can preview the field of view of a given lens with the preview lever.

Leica M4 + Summicron 50mm

Other novelties of the Leica M4 included a new rewind lever instead of the old extendable knob (much slower to operate) and an improved loading system, without the separate take-up spool.
You only have to insert the end of the film into the slots of a fixed take-up spool.
These new features obviouslly contribute for a much faster and easier change of film.

Leica M4 + Super-Angulon 21mm + external finder

Most other (minor) changes were of cosmetic nature - at least from the outside - but I should maybe still point out the new shape of the angled advance lever with its hinged plastic tip. I find it more confortable and more reassuring to use.
Somehow it feels better to me, but that's just my opinion... I know that other people prefer the old-style lever. 

Leica M4 + Elmarit 28mm + external finder

Production of the Leica M4 officially stopped in 1971, although some small batches have been manufactured at a later time.
Some special models were made for use with motor-drives - marked M4 MOT or just M4M - and some models were produced for the American Army - known as KE-7A, made by Ernst Leitz Canada, in Midland.
You can find the Leica M4 manufactured in standard chrome finish or black enamelled, later cameras were also produced in black chrome. Both plants in Wetzlar, Germany, and Midland, Canada, produced the M4.
I could be tempted to think, that the Leica M4 represents the last classic production M camera, the pinnacle of the german camera industry, the cherry on top of the cake!
But then again maybe no, that place must be reserved - at least chronologically speaking - for a (maybe) less appealing - not meaning less innovative! - camera, the Leica M5.

Let's leave that story for another day...

Greetings to you all!

Leica M4 + Summicron 50mm
Fátima - Portugal, May 13th, 2011
(Agfa APX 100, Kodak X-tol 1+1)


1 comment:

  1. The Leica M4, maybe the pinnacle of all the "Wetzlar" Leicas, perfect build quality and a joy to use.