If I were to splash out on a Leica M it would definitely be the M4. I can appreciate all the models and even have a soft spot for the "ugly duckling" M5 but, as far as I've ever lusted after a Leica, it's the camera featured in this brochure that does it for me.
Yes, the M3 and M2 are engineering marvels but the impression I have is that the knowledge gained by Leitz during all those years of perfecting the earlier models reached its zenith in the M4. It's perhaps an odd thing to say given that M4s date back five decades but they have a slightly more modern appearance than the M3 and M2 that I happen to prefer.
I also like the canted film rewind lever and the wider choice of frame lines. The M4's successor, the M5, was also a very well made camera built on the same principle of extremely tight and adjustable tolerances. The subsequent cameras, with, I believe, the exception of the MP launched in 2003 (I'm no expert so please correct me if I'm wrong), moved to a different philosophy that meant parts were designed to be fitted and replaced if they got out of whack rather than being minutely tunable by Leitz for maximum performance.
The thing is that I could afford an M4 and a couple of nice lenses but I'd have to sell my Nikon D700 DSLR and a couple of lenses first. It's very tempting and something I consider from time-to-time but, if you're a long-time reader, you'll remember that I've never really got on very well with rangefinders and I suspect that, ultimately, I'd come to see the M4 more as an object of desire or male jewellery rather than as a picture-making machine.
And, although I don't use digital for anything very much these days beyond photographing things for this blog or to list on Ebay, I still have reservations about selling the D700 and not having access to a high quality digital camera. But you never know. Maybe one day.
Anyway, enjoy this latest printable Leica brochure.