I bought my first Leica when I got tired of my Ricoh Gr1v breaking. Repair was so expensive and Ricoh stopped accepting repairs about 5-7 years ago. The M6 was so hyped up on the internet that I didn’t even look at anything else. Got one and liked it a lot actually. Then I learned about the MP and thought how nice it would be to have a more pure one with a metal rewind lever and brass plates instead of zinc. OK, sold the M6 and got an MP now. That one I actually shot from 2014 - now (2019). Never had an issue with it other than a dirty viewfinder or a few loose screws (lol). All easy to fix.
But in January 2019 I got my CFA exam results back and passed. I spent the past half year in my room studying after work until I went to sleep and only shot photos in the morning on my way to work. I was so happy to have passed the exam and rewarded myself with an M2!
It’s been a dream of mine to buy an old M2 and have it completely rebuilt/refurbished by Kanto Camera. They guys do a great job but it’s not cheap and it takes forever.
I had mine completely overhauled and painted black. It costs me ¥190,000 and took 5 ½ months...
Thats a lot of time and money. Whether that’s worth it or not depends on your budget and how much you shoot. I use my camera everyday. For me it was worth having a camera I really like using.
I’ve been a Kanto customer before. Had my MP skin replaced there and my Summicron v4 35mm overhauled. I knew it would be expensive and take time but I also knew that the work they do is second to none. I spoke to Kanto about the project before I bought the M2. I told them what type of M2 I like. The lever rewind and self-timer bodies are my favorites. I don’t plan on using the self-timer but it can act as a nice grip.
Kanto also recommended getting one with a serial number over 1 050 000. I am not exactly sure I understood why, but it was something about the viewfinder. If the finder is bad it’s easier for them to fix it or replace it. The one I found was 1 086 XXX.
It worked fine before I dropped it off. The only thing I didn’t like was the lens mount didn’t click loud enough when mounting a lens. It definitely locked securely but didn’t make the assuring sound the MP made. Anyhow, Kanto said they would try to do their best to fix that. Unfortunately it didn't change that much, even after the overhaul.
Five months after dropping it off they started working on it. Overhaul at Kanto means they take the camera apart completely. Everything that can be taken apart is taken apart, cleaned lubricated and if necessary replaced with a donor part. Kanto told me they even manufacture certain parts that are hard to come by as donor parts in-house.
Once they started working on it, it took about 3-4 weeks. They stripped the chromed silver off the top and bottom plates, removed the old leatherette and replaced the shutter curtains.
There are tons of options to choose from when you go in for a custom paint job. I didn’t even bother looking at the ridiculous pink and red stuff. My choices were between olive drab, Luftwaffe blue/grey or black. I ended up picking black because they other two options leave the dials and levers silver. I wanted an all black camera, but even within that you have 3-4 different blacks you can choose from. The original black paint M2 bodies were a shiny black paint. I didn’t like that as much. I wanted something that matches the matte, toned down black of the summicron lens I was gonna put on it.
Then they ask you about the color of the engravings and even lugs. Lugs are actually also replaced by default unless you ask them to keep the original ones. For the top plate and dial engravings I picked an off-white. They even offer pre-brassing to make the camera look less factory-new but that was just too ridiculous. Who would pay almost 2,000 USD for a paint job and then ask the same people to take part of it off again before returning it to you. That seemed borderline crazy to me, but check their Instagram feed. About half of their customers do exactly that. I’ll see how long it’ll take for mine to brass naturally. All I can say now is that the paint feels extremely strong. I don’t see this coming off anytime soon.
The shutter release is smooth like butter on the M2. My MP was nice and smooth but nothing even close to the M2. The shutter speed dial was a little stiff when I picked the camera up.I told them about it and they adjusted that on the spot for me. So far I am happy with the camera. The “no meter” thing didn’t take nearly as long as expected. The only thing that bothers me is that the back door has a tiny little play. It shifts left/right if you push it. There are no light leaks and it works flawlessly but I’ll see what they can do about that when go there next time. I highly recommend Kanto Camera. They have fixed lenses for me that other places couldn’t fix or wouldn’t even accept. With this custom paint they surprised me again. The camera feels and looks brand new. I really want to support Leica with their current film bodies, but I just couldn’t resist getting one of these classics.