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Leica M3


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#1 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 01:44 PM

Are they as difficult to load as I have read? Would an M4 be a better choice?

I'm looking for a SIMPLE 35mm camera with some "class" and the M3 is pretty sexy. Having the one fixed focal length lens seems like fun. Definitely change how I shoot. Is there anything else I should know before snagging one off ebay?

Does anyone have any lens recomendations?

Thanks!
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#2 Nathan Milford

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 01:58 PM

I just got a Voigtlander R3A to go with my Bessa T-101. It's a fantastic Leica M-mount camera with a 1:1 viewfinder with nice bright framelines etc.. They're high quality and quite afordable... but they're not quite Leicas...

You should definetly look into one, check out Stephen Gandy's Cameraquest.

I've got a 40/1.4 Nokton Classic with a single coating so it gives those nice romantic blooming highlights and flares.

I've also got the 50/3.5 Heliar which is one of the sharpest lenses around.

I'm looking to get an old 50mm Sumar, uncoated.

I'm holding out for the Leica M8 which should be released at Photokina this year, and should go for around $5000. Leica's first digital rangefinder... looks weird without the advance lever.
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#3 Mike Rizos

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 06:35 PM

They are not that difficult to load. You have to remove the take up spool from the camera, insert the film in the tab, and then place the film cartidge and take up spool back in the camera making sure the sporckets engage the film perforations. All this must be done from the bottom of the camera, and if you got nowhere to rest the camera, by one hand. The back camera door with the pressure plate is only used to check the film is engaged properly. It sounds more difficult than it really is and can be done in about 15-20 seconds with practice.
The later 3 prong take up spool of the M4 can be installed on an M3 if you want quicker loading. In this system you don't remove the take up spool at all, but just drop the film in to it and advance. You still have to make sure the perforations engage.
The M3 cameras fall into two major groups. The early ones were double stroke-you have to advance twice. The single stroke ones are like the normal advance and are $200-400 more, and are generally considered superior. The double stroke can be modified to single by a technician. Usually the higher the serial #,the more money the camera commneds. Check on the serial #'s before you buy.
Very early M3s had a ceramic pressure plate, and no preview. Avoid these.
The M3s have viewfinder frames for 50-90-135. If you want to shoot with the 50mm lens, the M3 is perfect. If you want frames for a 35mm lens, get an M2, or M4.
As far as lenses my favorite is the 50 Summicron. There is at least five versions of this lens, and even the first collepsable screw mount one will fit with an adapter. They are all of exroardinary quality, but the early(and cheaper ones) suffer from numerous scratches on the front element do to the softness of the coating.
I also recently bought the Cosina 35/2.5 and 90/2.5 and I'm very happy with them.
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#4 boy yniguez

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 10:42 AM

the greatest feature of the Leica M3 that later models don't have is the 100% view meaning the size of an object in the viewfinder is the same as that seen by the naked eye such that shooting with both eyes open ( a must for photographers who want to see what's going on outside the frame ) is simpler to adjust to. later models give only 75% view. also the summicron series in any focal length ( summicron is the name for leica M lenses with f2.0 widest f-stop ) are the sharpest.
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#5 Tim J Durham

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 03:12 PM

the greatest feature of the Leica M3 that later models don't have is the 100% view meaning the size of an object in the viewfinder is the same as that seen by the naked eye such that shooting with both eyes open ( a must for photographers who want to see what's going on outside the frame ) is simpler to adjust to. later models give only 75% view. also the summicron series in any focal length ( summicron is the name for leica M lenses with f2.0 widest f-stop ) are the sharpest.

I had an M-6 and the 75% viewfinder was horrendous for me. I tried for about 6 months to get used to it but couldn't. I sold it and the three lenses and bought a Contax G-2 system. It was night and day.

I know people swear by Leicas and the lenses are sharp, but check out the Contax system. It's auto-focus if you want it to be and I took some fabulous pictures with it. Unless you're just looking for the zeitgeist factor of an old Leica, which I fully understand.
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#6 shutter bug

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 03:15 PM

I had an M-6 and the 75% viewfinder was horrendous for me. I tried for about 6 months to get used to it but couldn't. I sold it and the three lenses and bought a Contax G-2 system. It was night and day.

I know people swear by Leicas and the lenses are sharp, but check out the Contax system. It's auto-focus if you want it to be and I took some fabulous pictures with it. Unless you're just looking for the zeitgeist factor of an old Leica, which I fully understand.


contax cameras have horrendous electronics from what i understand.they are not as reliable as they should be and you can lose the electronics totally and its not rare.on the other hand the lenses are zeiss...
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#7 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 03:46 PM

Lots of things to look out for, thanks for the advice. If I can stop buying guitar equipment, I'm going to pick one up soon. ;-)

Cheers!!!
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#8 Tim J Durham

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 05:29 PM

contax cameras have horrendous electronics from what i understand.they are not as reliable as they should be and you can lose the electronics totally and its not rare.on the other hand the lenses are zeiss...

Hmm,
I never heard that. I used mine nearly every day for about three years without a hiccup. Somebody must've gotten one that went into the drink. How many people/sources have you heard this from?
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#9 Ian Dudley

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Posted 30 September 2006 - 06:10 PM

Hmm,
I never heard that. I used mine nearly every day for about three years without a hiccup. Somebody must've gotten one that went into the drink. How many people/sources have you heard this from?


Me too. I've owned Contaxes (G2, RTS) for years too with no electronic problems whatsoever.

People too often throw around heresay info with no regard for the truth.

Cheers,

Ian Dudley
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