Leica M3 a 35 mm rangefinder camera by Ernst Leitz GmbH, first made in 1954. The first of it’s kind and still the most successful model of the M series, a beautiful camera to own, hold and use.This is my second M3 rangefinder camera I have been lucky to own.
This one is single stroke version, built in 1962 and, shall we say, well used. Well it’s certainly not a shelf queen but still works beautifully even though there are a few knocks and dints, but mechanically it’s as good as the day it was first unboxed.
When I bought it it came with a 50mm F 2.8 Elmar collapsible lens which from the early 1960’s and i have to say the lens is stunning quality. It’s much sharper than I expected but not as sharp as the Summicron but not far off. For me the beauty lies in its bouquet and tonal range it produces images which have that beautiful vintage Leica look that I love.
So back to the Leica M3 which has the most accurate focusing of all the M’s the M3 offers the world’s highest focusing precision. It’s as quiet as a mouse and you can be close to the person you are photographing without them hearing it. The shutter makes the most beautiful sound, very moreish, you just keep wanting to cock the shutter and keep pressing.
I’ve heard some people have problems loading the film but for me it couldn’t be simpler. I have to say once you find your own technique of loading it’s as quick to load as a Nikon or any of the other brands that are out there.The Leica M3 has no meter.
It is totally mechanical so always use a hand held light meter as I find it more reliable and accurate, so this is definitely no disadvantage to me. I love that it is purely mechanical with no batteries or electronics to worry about. Out of all the cameras I have owned, and there’s been a few, the M3 is the most reliable. Even though the Leica M3 was built in 1962 Leica’s offerings today don’t measure up to the M3This is by far one of my favourite cameras and lens combinations, I just love it!