Looking into different photography forums which Leica would commonly be a good system to go for as a first M I came nearly up with a blank as there are so many different opinions. In the end the decision was made by chance as I travelled to Hong Kong and found an old M2 for a reasonable price at an untrustworthy shop. Mmmm… should I take my chance and buy it?
I decided to wait and sleep over it before my last decision. Lucky me. Looking into another shop which I know as a trustworthy place I found a Leica M2 slightly higher priced but in better condition. I have some old Leica lenses which I use with the Sony system and so I decided at least to go for this body.
Luckily I had as well my Voigtlaender 35mm f1.2 with Leica mount in my bag and so I could already take advantage and shoot two rolls of b/w film. As I read about my Leica a little bit more I found out that the first Leica M2 was introduced back in 1957. The factory of Ernest Leitz Gmbh can still be found in Wetzlar, Germany. Looking up different sources it seems that more than 80,000 sets were produced in between 1957 to 1968. Mine seems to be made in 1963.
Differences in the series are some limited numbers painted in black and therefore highly collectable. In between the production years were other variations like the first sets which didn’t have a self timer, who was added later. The push button for film rewind was followed by the rewind lever in later models as well. In the early sixties the M2 was considered the most simplified and affordable M compared to the former Leica M3.
I like to do a lot of street photography and using the zone system to focus and hopefully get some of the decisive moments are quite easy to accomplish with the 35mm lens in the range f5.6-f11, which I use the most. I think that the M2 is perfectly made for this kind of street photography especially with the 35mm focal length. Apart from the usable 35mm lens you can shoot wide as well as tele lenses and standard equally well. The frame lines which are made for 35mm, 50mm, 90mm with mag of x0.72 are an all rounder and easy to use compared to other Leica bodies.
The M2 has:
- solid brass body.
- classic Leica script on the top plate.
- 35/50/90 frame lines.
- classic small shutter dial.
- classic counter.
Looking to get into the Leica league I find that the M2 as everything I need. And one of the best things I like to mention is that the classic look and name was bought without a huge credit bill …
Here some of my first shots. B/W Film Ilford Pan 400