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Thread: M4 questions

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    M4 questions

    Just pickup up my first Leica film camera, a 1967 M4 in good condition, with a beautiful 50 summacron rigid. Just back from a CLA and shutter repair (first curtain and brake). Really enjoying shooting with it.
    A couple questions:
    The Leica strap seems like it will mark the body over time, the plastic is quite hard and seems like it will scrape the surface. Needless worry?

    Leica film cameras the decisive moment cameras, yet the shutter button has a long push before shutter release. Is this something you just get the feel for over time? I'm used to the hair trigger shutter buttons of digital cameras. I see a lot of Leica users add the extended shutter plunger. Is this why?
    Shaun O'Boyle
    new.oboylephoto.com

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    Re: M4 questions

    Shaun, I do not have any experience with using Leica straps since I usually place a strap with silk/nylon braid on the camera. I do not have an answer regarding the reason for the long push on the shutter release. I have not noticed the difference when using my MP or M6TTL film cameras. If you do not get a response here you may want to ask the question down in the analog section. Also there are a lot more film users over at RFF, a link to the Leica M Film Cameras section is here.

    I enjoyed taking a walk around your website, some great images.

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    Re: M4 questions

    I shot with an M2 for many years, and always found that I could depress the shutter with less vibration if I stuck a 1/2" long machine screw into the cable release hole so that it stuck up and I was press ing down on it with the middle joint of my finger rather than the fingertip. I have a picture of that somewhere, but can't find it right now. When I lost the screw (cost $0.00), I have always since invested in an Abrahamson softy, which doesn't stand up so high but does the same job.

    scott

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    Re: M4 questions

    Quote Originally Posted by soboyle View Post
    I'm used to the hair trigger shutter buttons of digital cameras. I see a lot of Leica users add the extended shutter plunger. Is this why?
    You will soon discover there is a lot of quasi-mythological nonsense around Leica's that accessory makers feed on. Your shutter button will have a longer travel than a digital camera and 'softies' have nothing to do with making the travel shorter, they are to smooth out the travel of the button so people can make consistently steady exposures at 1/8th second (see, I told you there was a lot of quasi-mythological claptrap).

    You can change your strap for a leather one, but the chrome is very hard wearing and I'm not sure many people bother babying it in the same way as a black paint camera.

    But enjoy your new camera, and remember the lesson from Bresson about the 'decisive moment' - take plenty of pictures of a scene so that at least one of them turns out to be decisive!

    Steve

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    Re: M4 questions

    By itself, the hard plastic isn't hard enough to leave marks on chrome, but when combined with abrasive dust and the polishing action of your hands, eventually you'll see shiny wear areas around the strap lugs and the edges of the body and controls. But even with everyday use, it takes awhile.

    I never did see the appeal of the various M add-ons including oversized shutter buttons or various grips: Use it enough and you won't find it lacking in any of those areas. If there's a trick to the M's shutter button, I guess it's getting to know how far you can safely depress the button without firing the camera, then getting into the habit of lightly pressing it even as you raise it to your eye. Soon enough, it becomes second nature, and the remaining button press is actually quite short.

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    Member Seascape's Avatar
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    Re: M4 questions

    The shutter release of film M's were designed to have that type of action (and can be adjusted height wise by a technician I believe) to give a smooth shake free release.

    The ring around the shutter release is concave to allow you to rest your finger on it while gently rolling the fingertip to release the shutter.

    It is an action that works really well once you practice it, a nice smooth controlled motion…..it works !!

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    Senior Member JohnBrew's Avatar
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    Re: M4 questions

    I used the "softies" for years and still have one on my M8.2. No one seems to be able to supply one in the correct thread size for the M-P so I don't use one and now I really don't care if it is there or not.
    As to your strap question, my M4 was used before I acquired it by a photo journalist and had very heavy use. I used it every day. The strap had polished the chrome above the lug but it wasn't objectionable.

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    Re: M4 questions

    I was recommended by a Leica repair technician not to use that strap on the M4 because the lugs are of softer material (brass?). Not sure if this is true for all M4s (mines a black paint) but the lugs on my camera were visibly very thin and were replaced.

    Some straps have a leather protector which prevents scratching the camera body (Barton 1972 are very good for the money). But I wouldn't baby the camera personally. Scratches and dings make it yours. Everyone's different though.

    In my view the best way to depress the shutter release is with the foremost joint of the index finger. That is very quick and produces the least camera shake. It is possible to have the shutter release travel adjusted but unless it is very long/deep I wouldn't bother. In fact, I had my TTL adjusted so that it would travel like my M4.

    Philip
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