The Leica M4-2 is a family member of the historical Leica M-series 35mm rangefinder cameras. All M-series cameras have focal plane shutters and employ the M bayonet lens mount for a range of interchangable lenses. Because of the simple yet practical and reliable construction, the exceptional optical performance of the lenses, the quiet shutter and the relatively bright viewfinder, M-series cameras had been employed through out history by many street/documentary photographers and photojournalists. The father of street photograhy, Henri Cartier-Bresson, was a Leica user himself. Beside the symbolic use in reportage, the M-series rangefinders are also great for super-wide landscape photography. It is because with no mirror standing between the lens and the focal plane shutter, super-wide lenses can be made in size much much smaller than those for SLR cameras and yet being sharper and have less distortion.
The “numbering/naming” of the M-series cameras are qutie confusing to many since a “larger number” model does not necessarily correspond to a later design than a “smaller number” model. For example, the first Leica M-series camera, the M3, was introduced in 1954 followed by the MP, M2, M1 then the M4 and the M5. The M4-2 above was introduced in 1977 and it is the first M-series camera made out of Germany (in Canada) providing the Minolta made CL is excluded from the M family. It is also the first one with an electronic flash capable hot shoe. Only 17,000 M4-2’s were made, a relatively small number compared to 50,000 0f its predecessor M4 and 200,000 of its ancestor M3.
This particular unit is not mine. It belongs to a good friend of mine who lent me the camera for a test-run after a CLA. I shot a roll of “housebrand” ASA400 color negative with it and before I returned the camera, I took several shots of the camera itself using my D40 and a Tamron 17-50 f2.8 inside a cafe lit by window light. I was forced to shoot with ISO1600 and thus the quality of the photos above is not as good. Anyway, below are some shots I took during the test-run:
Status: Returned to Owner