The M2 was in production from 1957 to 1967. This one is an earlier version with a button rewind and the optional self-timer. Late versions used a lever release like the M3.
The M2 production started in late 1957 for sale starting in 1958. The original productions were with a push button rewind like this one. The button was replaced by a lever style rewind during the first year of production. Supposedly it was because the button was unpopular. Personally, I like the button. I like the aesthetics of the button and don't see it being any more prone to accidental activation than the lever. I wonder if the motivation had more to do with harmonizing production with the M3. This one also has the optional self-timer.
Other significant changes from the M3:
- .72 viewfinder magnification (reduced from .92 on the M3)
- frame lines for 35-50-90 mm lens (M3 was 50-90-135)
- The frame counter went from a window to a dial around the film advance. Required manual reset.
This example is from a November 1958 production run of 2,000 units. This one was professionally repainted and restored by Lumiere of Japan. The paint looks fantastic and better quality than the original factory black paint finish. New paint and a CLA, this is basically a new camera. Stunning.
I shot it with the Jupiter 9 85mm f/2.0 lens. The Jupiter 9 was a copy of the Zeiss Sonnar 85mm produced in the USSR starting after WWII. This one is in Leica thread mount M39 so I used a adapter ring to bring up the 90mm frame lines. My lens seems to be the Zorki PT 7060 model, there were several other versions.
The M2 was a dream. Gorgeous black paint and smooth flawless operation. My personal opinion is that the M2 was the most attractive, iconic M camera body. The M2 has slightly cleaner lines than the M3 and looks amazing in black. If you are ok resetting your own frame counter, the M2 is a great choice. The Jupiter 9 was a pleasant surprise. With a price of just a couple hundred dollars, it is easy to dismiss this lens. It is a Soviet lens so I'm sure there are variations in quality but this one was great. The Jupiter was functional but not as smooth as some more expensive lens. A good CLA on the lens may help but at the price it seems hard to justify the cost. I think this would be an interesting portrait lens. This is another low cost but worth trying USSR era lens to add to your kit.
Lens: Jupiter 9 85mm f/2.0
Film: FujiColor 100