Manufacturing of Leica M2 started in 1958, and the gross number manufactured was approxmately eighty seven thousands, which is about 1.4 times as many as Leica M4 and 2.5 times as Leica M5.
Like M3, most of M2 was manufactured in chrome finish in Wetzler, West-Germany, and the rest was in Canada. The ratio of West-Germany mades to Canadian-mades is forty eight to one. In addition to this, two thousands of black-finished M2 were manufactured among them.
Even though each series in M-type Leicas has the number, 1, 2, 3, 4..., it doesn't really indicate when they were made since M2 (, and M1 as well) was launched after M3 as a downgrade version.
But when we look at the long history of M-type Leicas, we can see that M2 gave a big influence to the followers - M4, M5, M6 and M7. The major factor is the 35mm frame. And many of basic functions are succeeded to M6 TTL, and now M7.
On M2, finder magnifications are 0.72x as 0.91x on M3, and 35mm frame is employed instead of 135mm frame.
Of course 0.91x of 50mm frame was one of the Leica's masterpiece, but simplified each-lens-for-each-frame finder on M2 was very useful and good. Besides, many of users took advantage of the 35mm frame to enjoy 35mm lens on thier M2, and thus, it has been employed on all the folloing models.
Also, the shutter unit employed on M2 was fed back to M3. Before, the front curtain and back curtain needed the shutter brake for each, and that's why two-stroke shutter was employed, but on M2, it was improved to one-stroke shutter, and which made it possible easier maintenance.
On the later, Leitz introduced M2-R that employed Rapid Loading system, and this, too, was succeeded to M4.
Well then, let's take a look at it.
- First introduced in 1958.
- Lens mount : Leica M bayonet mount
- Finder magnifications : 0.72 x
- Bright frame : 35, 50 and 90mm frame
- Base length : 68.5 mm
- Effective base length : 51.4mm
- Shutter speeds : B, 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000 sec.
- Shutter unit : horizontal-travel mechanical shutter with cloth curtain
- Built-in meter : not provided.
- Film transport :
- the earlier version : two-stroke
- the later version : one-stroke
- Frame counter : manual resetting frame counter
- Rewind : with the rewind knob on the camera top left
- Self-timer : built-in / not provided.
- Body dimensions : W138 x H77 x D33.5mm
- Body weight : 580 g
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