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Leica M4-P

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Leica's M4-P is a critically acclaimed rangefinder camera built from 1980 to 1986, and carried serial numbers from 1543351 to 1692950. It was the successor to the M4-2, and the main difference was a six-position rangefinder lever that allowed use of the 28/35/50/75/90/135 lenses by sharing the following frame combinations: 35/135mm, 50/75mm, and 28/90mm. The 28mm and 75mm frames were added for these newer lenses. The M4-P also has the .72 magnification frames found in the Leica M6, and available on the M7,

Leica M4-P and M4-2's were built in Midland, Canada, a cost saving measure by Leica during a difficult financial time, following the disastrous introduction of the M-5. Many Leica aficionados are critical of the M4-2 and M4-P because they were a departure from the watch-like mechanics of previous M models, like the M1, M2, M3, and M4. Those models allowed for tweaking of adjustments to bring mechanicals back into spec, whereas the M4-2 and M4-P used a less expensive method of building highly-precise mechanicals that would simply be replaced when they wore out. The materials in these newer cameras were much stronger than previous materials, and did not wear out as fast. But because of their strength, some Leica followers don't believe the mechanics are as smooth nor as quiet as previous models. This fact tends to dog these two models, but most Leica experts agree these cameras are as good as any Leica M.

The Leica M4-P does not have a built in light meter, but the Leica M6 that replaced it does. A motor winder, powered by AA batteries, was available, providing shooting up to 3 frames per second. Most M4-Ps were finished in black chrome, while some silver-chrome units were available in a smaller number. Newer M6 models started production in 1984, overlapping production of the M4-P, and later M4-Ps shared the same rangefinder as the M6.

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