Timeline of Leica M analogue (film) cameras

timeline-of-leica-m-analogue-film-cameras
Tamarkin has a nice timeline of Leica M analogue (film) cameras on their website:

leica-m3-camera
Leica M3 (1954 - 1966)

  • Single-Stroke or Double-Stroke film advance
  • Largest RF magnification of any M camera – 0,93
  • 35mm lenses require “RF” attachments on lenses
  • Bright-line frame-lines for 50, 90 and 135mm

leica-mp-camera-1957
Leica MP (1956 - 1957)

  • Single-Stroke and Double-Stroke
  • Steel gearing instead of brass
  • External frame counter, like the M2
  • No self-timer
  • Approximately 500 were made

leica-m2-camera
Leica M2 (1958 - 1967)

  • New standard of rangefinder magnification – 0,72
  • Some later cameras have a self-timer (called the “M2-S”)
  • Bright-line frame-lines for 35, 50, and 90mm
  • External, manual reset frame counter

leica-m1-camera
Leica M1 (1959 - 1964)

  • Made chiefly for scientific purposes
  • Like the M2 in every respect except the M1 has a viewfinder with 35 and 50mm frame-lines and no rangefinder

leica-md-camera
Leica MD (1964 - 1966)

  • Made mainly for scientific purposes, to replace the M1
  • Made without self-timer, viewfinder or rangefinder
  • Sometimes delivered with a special baseplate to accept 4mm index strips for recording of data on to the negative

leica-mda-camera
Leica MDa (1966 - 1976)

  • Made chiefly for scientific purposes, to replace the MD
  • Made without self-timer, viewfinder or rangefinder
  • Sometimes delivered with a special baseplate to accept 4mm index strips for recording of data on to the negative

leica-m4-camera
Leica M4 (1967 - 1975)

  • 0,72 magnification (standard)
  • Bright-line frame-lines for 35, 50, 90 and 135mm
  • Internal frame counter and rapid loading system now the new standards
  • Articulated film advance lever and canted rewind lever both now the new standard

leica-m5-camera
Leica M5 (1971 - 1975)

  • First M camera with “TTL” exposure meter built in Larger body size and different shape
  • Early models have two strap lugs on one side, later have additional third lug
  • Exposure meter arm moves into place once lens is mounted; certain wide-angle and collapsible lenses cannot be used as a result

leica-cl-camera
Leica CL (1973 - 1976)

  • Very compact; 2/3 of the Leica M2
  • Designed by Leica; manufactured by Minolta
  • Bright-line frame-lines for 40mm, 50mm and 90mm
  • Two strap lugs on one side
  • Exposure meter arm moves into place once lens is mounted; certain wide-angle and collapsible lenses cannot be used as a result

leica-md-2-camera
Leica MD-2 (1977 - 1987)

  • Identical the MDa, except all examples were made to take a rapid- (or motor-) winder

leica-m4-2-camera
Leica M4-2 (1978 - 1980)

  • Bright-line frame-lines for 28, 35, 50, 75, 90 and 135mm. (28/90, 35/135, 50/75 now the new standard)
  • Mainly in black chrome. Made in Canada; few in Germany.
  • No self-timer
  • Made to take a rapid- (or motor-) winder

leica-m4-p-camera
Leica M4-P (1981 - 1987)

  • Similar to the M4-2, but with .72 finder (six frame lines viewfinder )

leica-m6-camera

Leica M6 (1984 - 1999)

  • Identical to the M4-P - with these exceptions:
  • First Leica M Camera with an LED meter built-in
  • Fully mechanical shutter, as with all preceding M models
  • Late-production cameras offered in 0,58, 0,72 and 0,85 magnification (uncommon)

leica-m6_ttl-camera

Leica M6 TTL (1998 - 2002)

  • Identical to the M6 - with only these exceptions:
  • Larger shutter speed dial, turns opposite, with “OFF” position
  • Produced in 0,58, 0,72 and 0,85 magnifications; in Brass
  • “Through The Lens” flash-metering capability
  • 2mm taller top plate

leica-m7-camera

Leica M7 (2002 - Present)

  • Identical to the M6-TTL - with these exceptions:
  • Aperture Priority mode
  • Electronic shutter; only 1/60 and 1/125 are mechanical
  • Shutter release/electronics lock under shutter release button
  • Manual exposure compensation
  • DX-code (on film canister) ASA reader (late models infrared)

leica-mp-camera
Leica MP (2003 - present)

  • Identical to the LEICA M2 - with only these exceptions:
  • Made with an improved “flare-free” finder
  • LED meter built-in; no self-timer
  • Rapid loading system, as with other recent M film cameras
  • Internal frame counter

leica-m-a-camera-typ-127
Leica M-A Typ 127 (2014 - present)

  • Identical to the LEICA M2 - with these exceptions:
  • Rapid loading system, as with other recent M film cameras
  • No self-timer
  • Internal frame counter
  • All examples made to take a rapid- (or motor-) winder
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  • Jakkapat Kosoltrakul

    Aren’t M4-2’s identical frame-lines to M4, but with newer configuration to decrease costs? The six frame-lines VF later added in M4-P.

    • leica man

      Yes.
      And the time frame for M6TTL is wrong on here.
      The M6 came out before the TTL.

      • Jakkapat Kosoltrakul

        Interesting…the timeline and info in the website, where this post is quoted from, seems to be correct, but somehow messing up here.

    • The M4-2 was launched in 1977:

      In the year 1975, a special edition was made for Leica’s 50th Anniversary, and in 1977 the company launched the updated M4-2, which was based on the M4’s body, but with a streamlined production process that reduced manufacturing cost. The M4-2 added a hot shoe and motor drive compatibility as standard, but removed the self-timer.

      Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leica_M4

      • Jakkapat Kosoltrakul

        I mean, in your post saying that M4-P is completely identical to the M4-2. That’s why I confused.

        Anyway, for old Leica related resources, I think we rather stick to Stephen Gandy’s cameraquest.com than others.

        • I see what you mean now – I read “time frame” instead of “frame lines”, I will update the post.

          • Jakkapat Kosoltrakul

            yeah, and the ‘time’ frame of the M6 and M6TTL also switches, like @disqus_lleQYS1hSf:disqus said.

          • Yes, I fixed that too:)

  • Ric Ricard

    FYI, pics are out of sequence for M6, M6TTL and M7.

    • I think they go by when the camera was first introduced.

      • Ric Ricard

        What I mean is, the M6 photo appears above the write up of the M7. The M7 photo appears above the M6TTL photo. I think it is the MP that appears above the M6 write up.

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