Leica M4

35mm MF film rangefinder camera

Production details

Production details
Announced:1967
Production type:Mass production
Order No.:10400 - silver chrome
10401 - black finish MOT
10402 - black finish
10405 - silver chrome with ELMAR 50/2.8
10406 - silver chrome with SUMMICRON 50/2 rigid
10407 - silver chrome with SUMMICRON 50/2 Dual Range
10408 - silver chrome with SUMMILUX 50/1.4
10409 - silver chrome with SUMMICRON 50/2 rigid
System: Leica M (1954)

Specification

Imaging plane
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount and Flange focal distance:Leica M [27.8mm]
Imaging plane:36 × 24mm film
Shutter
Type:Focal-plane
Model:Mechanical
Speeds:1 - 1/1000 + B
Exposure
Exposure metering:None
Exposure modes:Manual
Rangefinder and Viewfinder
Rangefinder:Built-in, combined with viewfinder
Viewfinder:Built-in, combined with rangefinder
Finder magnification:0.72x
Actual rangefinder base:68.5mm
Effective rangefinder base:49.32mm
Bright-line frames:35mm & 135mm, 50mm, 90mm
Parallax compensation:Yes
Physical characteristics
Weight:600g
Dimensions:138x77x33.5mm
Accessories
Body cap:14195
14397

Manufacturer description #1

Bright-line measuring viewfinder with automatic parallax compensation. Automatically superimposed image frames for 35, 50, 90 and 135 mm focal length. Bayonet mount for rapid lens change. Shutter speed knob from 1 to 1/1000 sec. and B.

Attachable exposure meter coupled directly with the shutter knob.

Rapid film loading system for all standard 35 mm films and LEICA cassettes. Automatic film counter under magnifier. Hinged back.

Serial No. from 1175001.

Manufacturer description #2

The new Leica M4 is a precision range-viewfinder camera with features of its famous companion models, the LEICA M 2 and M 3.

Illuminated focal frames appear automatically within the M4 wide-angle range-viewfinder whenever any of the four most important lens focal lengths - 35, 50, 90, and 135mm - are used.

The new LEITZ speed loading system built into the LEICA M4 reduces standard-cartridge film changing to a matter of seconds, with push-in-and-hands-away loading ease. If you can operate a door knob, you can load the LEICA M4.

Unchanged are the slim, handily compact form of the classic M-LEICA body, the limitless versatility of interchangeable lenses from ultra-wideangle to extreme long focus, plus traditional LEITZ precision, ruggedness and reliability.

Designed for critical photographers who put picture quality first, and built for hard-working professionals who don't have time to "baby" their equipment, the LEICA M4 is your key to the LEICA System, and to all of its photographic possibilities.

***

Faster film changing with standard 35 mm cartridges

You've never loaded a 35mm film so quickly, or so easily. Just push the cartridge with extended film-end into the M4, and the new LEITZ speed loading system takes over. Close the camera, stroke the transport lever, and three prongs - which replace the conventional take-up spool - pull the film into shooting position, frame after frame. And this in less time than it took to read this paragraph!

Added M4 conveniences that speed up and simplify film changing include an automatically self-starting frame counter that you can't forget to set, and a folding rapid rewind crank that's canted for fast, unobstructed action. Loading and unloading are so fast, so fumble-free, that cold-weather photographers won't bother to remove their gloves.

Best of all, the LEICA M4 demands no special film diet. Like every LEICA ever built, it accepts every standard 35mm film cartridge produced by the international photographic industry. You get all the convenience of fast push-in loading, with an unrestricted choice of black-and-white and color materials.

No doubt about sharpness

LEICA range-viewfinder focusing is faster, easier, more accurate than any other system. Top-quality speed lenses like the 35 and 50mm SUMMILUX® f/1.4 need the precision of the long-base LEICA range- finder to convert their excellent optical correction into practical on-film reality.

The extraordinary brightness of the LEICA rangefinder cuts through "available darkness" like radar, lets you focus quickly and confidently under all conditions. For fast candid shooting with modern high-speed lenses, there is nothing like a LEICA. Illuminated frames built into the universal M4 viewfinder begin with the very important 35mm focal length. This changes automatically when 50 and 90mm LEICA lenses are mounted. The 135mm lens field appears within the wideangle lens field. All of these built-in focal frames are automatically compensated for parallax over the full focusing range of each lens. This means that everything inside the frame will be recorded on the film. Even eyeglass wearers see the full wideangle viewfinder field with comfort and clarity.

***

The LEICA represents an unequalled combination of rugged reliability and proven precision. Its unique qualities are based upon rigid production controls with uncompromising optical and mechanical tolerances. Practically indestructible, LEICA cameras participate in expeditions in every inhospitable climate on earth, from biting cold to steaming tropical heat. Professional photographers, scientists and technicians put their trust in LEICA. Here are some of the reasons:

The outstanding optical quality of interchangeable LEICA lenses. The LEICA M4 accepts more than 20 LEITZ lenses with focal lengths from 21 to 560mm, apertures of f/1.4 and even faster.

The unmatched accuracy and dependability of the LEICA range-view-finder. The LEICA M4 provides rapid rangefinder focusing for six focal lengths, from 21 to 135mm.

The quiet efficiency and lasting accuracy of the vibration-free LEICA focal-plane shutter. The LEICA M4 offers eleven precision speeds from 1 to 1/1000 sec, with full flash synchronization. Its selector dial couples to the sensitive LEICAMETER® MR CdS exposure meter.

The functional LEICA design for fast-handling precision.The LEICA M4 adds to these advantages the new plus feature of faster, easier film changing.

The LEICA M4 continues the LEITZ tradition of optical and mechanical excellence. Its most important hidden feature is the creative self-confidence it brings to LEICA photographers.

***

LEICA M4 technical specifications

Built-in range-viewfinder with automatically parallax compensated illuminated frames for 35, 50, 90, 135mm lenses, rangefinder focusing for lenses from 21 through 135mm. Finder frame preselector lever.

Focal-plane shutter with eleven evenly spaced speeds from 1 to 1/1000 sec, plus Bulb. Intermediate speeds except between 1/4 and 1/8 sec. Speed selector dial couples to LEICAMETER MR. Automatic flash bulb synchronization at speeds to 1/500 sec, electronic-flash at 1/50. Delayed action self-timer.

Speed loading system for all standard 35mm film cartridges and self-loaded LEICA cassettes. Canted rapid rewind crank. Automatically self-starting frame counter.

Single-stroke transport lever tensions shutter, advances film and frame counter; can be optionally double-stroked.

Compact all-metal body with quarter-turn bayonet lens mount, hinged back panel, removable baseplate, accessory shoe, film- type indicator, 1/4" tripod bushing, strap lugs.

Manufacturer description #3

The Leica "M4" is the achievement of more than a third of a century of progress in the design of rangefinder 35mm cameras. Since 1925, when the introduction of the first Leica launched the present era of 35mm photography, constant improvements have been added to make operation easier and success more certain.

The Leica M4 has these advanced features:

  • Brilliant, single-window range- and viewfinder.
  • Automatic ParalIax correction.
  • Accurate, rugged focal-plane shutter.
  • One-stroke film-advance and shutter-wind lever.
  • Single speed-setting dial with click-stops for speeds from 1 second to 1/1000th and B.
  • Automltic flash synchronization for both flash bulbs and electronic flash.
  • Easy-fast position loading.
  • Cleverly designed "canted rewind-crank"
  • View-finder image three quarter life size
  • Rewind lever resets lutomiticilly to "advance" position as film is loaded.
  • Built-in self-timer (up to 10 seconds delay).
  • Accessory shutter-coupled exposure meter available.
  • Accessory reflex housing available for long-lens and close-up work.
  • Many other accessories for close-up, copying and photo-micrography available.
  • Built-in, bright-line frames for four focal lengths; 35mm, 50mm, 90mm and 135mm.
  • Built-in exposure counter automatically resets itself to zero on reloading camera
  • Full line of interchangeable lens.

From the editor

A model that replaced both the M3 and M2 and combined their features. Three standard finishes were available: silver chrome, black paint and black chrome. Bright-line frames for 35mm, 50mm, 90mm and 135mm. The 35mm and 135mm frames appeared together. Viewfinder magnification 0.72x. Flash synchronization similar to M3 but with standard 3mm coaxial socket.

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Copyright © 2012-2022 Evgenii Artemov. All rights reserved. Translation and/or reproduction of website materials in any form, including the Internet, is prohibited without the express written permission of the website owner.

35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm
  • Area: 864mm2

14195

Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.

14397

Protection cap, for camera body with LEICA M bayonet mount.

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance can also be different.

The flange focal distance (FFD) is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Manual diaphragm

The diaphragm must be stopped down manually by rotating the detent aperture ring.

Preset diaphragm

The lens has two rings, one is for pre-setting, while the other is for normal diaphragm adjustment. The first ring must be set at the desired aperture, the second ring then should be fully opened for focusing, and turned back for stop down to the pre-set value.

Semi-automatic diaphragm

The lens features spring mechanism in the diaphragm, triggered by the shutter release, which stops down the diaphragm to the pre-set value. The spring needs to be reset manually after each exposure to re-open diaphragm to its maximum value.

Automatic diaphragm

The camera automatically closes the diaphragm down during the shutter operation. On completion of the exposure, the diaphragm re-opens to its maximum value.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/ on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

Teleconverters

Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Lens caps

Scratched lens surfaces can spoil the definition and contrast of even the finest lenses. Lens covers are the best and most inexpensive protection available against dust, moisture and abrasion. Safeguard lens elements - both front and rear - whenever the lens is not in use.