The Think Camera: Old Leica M4 Ad Brags About the Camera’s Lack of Technology


There’s something awesome about vintage ads. This rings especially true for photography ads, because while technology ads of the past for things like computers or other gadgets might seem comically archaic, the text in something like this Leica M4 ad could very well be seen in the next Pure Photography-like campaign.

The ad, which you can see in its full glory below, is the for the Leica M4 and probably came out sometime in the late 60s (the M4 debuted in 1967).

In the text, Leica touts the M4 as ‘The Think Camera,’ practically bragging about its lack of electronic circuitry and indicators that had become commonplace in film cameras at the time. This camera, boasts the ad, is for “those of you who prefer to do your own thinking, your own creating.”


Like we said, we could see this same sort of text in the next Nikon “Pure Photography” teaser campaign. Where photography is concerned (or at least serious photography) the tool remains secondary, and so advertisers can brag about the lack of specs with almost as much passion as they stack the spec sheet.

As the text reads:

In the hands of the discriminating photographer, the M4 is a sophisticated “tool” of endless versatility and speed. A camera so flexible that its only limitation is the scope of your imagination and the condition of your reflexes.

Check out the full ad above to read it for yourself, and if you want to see even more vintage M4 advertising awesomeness, click here to head over to the Leica Diaries website where this ad is joined by seven others!

(via Tokyo Camera Style)

  • Carl Meyer

    A well known Spanish proverb describes Leica’s strategy of the time quite well “Tell me what you brag about and I’ll tell you what you lack”. By rejecting certain technological advances Leica ended justifying what they lacked instead of talking about their merits.

  • Stan B.

    Next to most digital cameras, that M4 still kills in the looks department (as does many a vintage car).

  • Woody ONeal

    Leica ripped off the X100S


  • Fernando Callo

    I don’t know whether to laugh or worry about this comment.

  • Woody ONeal

    It’s called sarcasm.

  • Fernando Callo

    Yes, that’s exactly why.

  • the_gator

    I had two M4 black bodies , they cost $200 a piece new, times have changed. But loving my Fuji E-X1 which is as close to my old leicas as I can get now.

  • bob cooley

    It’s one of the reasons I loved my Nikon F4s – Well designed and were pretty basic cameras (no sunset mode, or other silliness). It had just the controls I needed as a pro, plus one full program setting for when I handed the camera off to someone who wasn’t a shooter – it was pretty bare bones compared to the consumer lines.

  • The_Nexus

    In today’s (2013) U.S. currency.. that $200 from 1967 (when the M4 debuted) is now approximately $1075 . About the same price as the X-E1 with the 18-55 kit lens.

  • Mike

    Them darn German time machines!!!

  • 写真家

    To this day, F4s was my favorite Nikon film eater. Hated F5, never touch F6. Replaced F5 with D1, but still miss F4s very much.

  • Mark

    I’m a long-time pro and still have mine from back in the day. It still makes far better photographs than any and all of the top-line professional digital cameras I own or have owned. To me, the Leica M4 is just the perfect camera.

  • Marc W.

    The camera or the lenses. I don’t doubt the Leica lenses are top notch.

  • flightofbooks

    This must have been the ad the writers of Mad Men had in mind when they gave the Leica account to SCDP.