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Thread: A "new" Leica M3

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    A "new" Leica M3

    I recently stopped at a small camera/repair store to browse around. Just a small sign propped up outside was the only clue that this was a camera shop...

    Once inside, I was like a kid in a candy shop, my eyes wide open as I gleaned at all the vintage cameras not knowing which one to touch first! I know this sounds dramatic, but it gets better...

    There on a small display crammed with various cameras of different vintage was an early version Leica M3 with scientific shutter speeds and a pristine 50mm Summicron with matching metal hood. This camera appears to have seen very little use, if any. The only indication was small tiny bright marks on the shiny shutter dial that might have been from the lightmeter. As soon as I held it in my hand, I felt what was undeniably the finest 35mm camera i've ever known. The viewfinder is amazing! The range patch is a little dim, but the frame lines were so bright, as if there was electronics in the camera! Truly amazing! Even the 50mm summicron, in it's stunning chrome finish was a marvel to behold. There's a little play in the focus, but it too looks new. I'm hoping a CLA would will bring "her" up to speed and brighten the range patch (it works good in contrasty situations). The "L" seal is still in place, and the shutter speeds all sound accurate.

    I immediately became a Leica film camera zealot, and never really understood the mystic, until I held this camera. As the saying goes...they don't build them like this anymore!

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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Congrats! Sounds like quite a find - any photos of it?
    -- Joe

    http://mountainjoe.zenfolio.com/ - excuse the mess

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    Member ray*j*gun's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    I understand..... the same thing happened to me but it was hmmm many years ago with a Leica IIIc. I own a number of Barnacks and a button rewind M2 which I fell is the finest of of all the M's but hey they are all wonderful good luck!!!!!

    BTW Youxin Ye is a great tech on the older M's.
    Raymond

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Thanks for the tip Raymond. I also contacted DAG and he told me they can do a full CLA for approx. $325. I'm excited to shoot with this camera!

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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    They're delightful machines, aren't they?

    My M4-2 does that for me. Simple, stark black and all business—it feels just right, the way I want my cameras to feel.

    Enjoy it!

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Yes, Godfrey they really are! I never had a camera that I just keep staring and holding - this includes my old M9, Hasselblad V series, H4D, D800, H1, Fuji X Pro,. Those are all good cameras, but this one exudes character and quality. There's an indispensable quality to mechanical Leica's, that just cannot be replicated in today's models. I'm really very grateful for finding this camera because it's re-charged my own creativity.

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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Well done!

    I hope its going to work as well as it looks, but do use it before sending it for a CLA (if it needs one), because you want to find all the fault's (if there are any).

    Steve

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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Does it look like this:

    LeicaM3Rigidfront by wjlapier, on Flickr

    I found this one on ebay with bad pics. I asked condition because description didn't state it. Seller said it was near new condition. And it was. Amazing camera that got me hooked on Leica ever since.
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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Yes, it does...here's a pic...
    Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 10th April 2013 at 06:35.
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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Hi Steve,

    I have been shooting with it now and the shutter seems silky smooth at all speeds, so no CLA just yet. An amazing feature is the viewfinder does not flare at all. I'll dunk a roll tonight and print a few out, fingers crossed...

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    wjlapier-

    I like your flicker pics. How do like the M7? I've read that you can now manually enter the DX coding, as a workaround to the flaky contacts.

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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    wjlapier-

    I like your flicker pics. How do like the M7? I've read that you can now manually enter the DX coding, as a workaround to the flaky contacts.
    Thanks!

    The M7 is a dream camera for me. I've used just about all Leicas and decided the AE of the M7 was for me. Bought the ala carte a couple of years ago and all is well.

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Okay,

    I developed my negs, albeit for 15 min. because of the room temp, but so far there's nice density. I really like the 50mm Cron /rigid that this M3 came with. Now to try and print a few.

    Temps around 18f yesterday and the M3 was flawless. I really adore this camera, and will be sending it in for a full CLA, (lens and camera). I'm also going to replace the vulcanite. I'm sure I can shoot with this as is, but I have a wedding in Washington D.C. and would like to add this to the mix.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    It is a beauty. I would not use it too much without the CLA. If the original seal is intact, then those lubricants could be pretty dry. I wouldn't take a chance on doing damage.

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Hi Cindy,

    I agree, and look forward to this "new" M3. I read somewhere (and agree), that although the new MP's/M7's are beautiful cameras, these older classics like the M3, represent the last of true human engineering in terms of tooling and manufacture. Todays models are built using CAD and other computer designs programs, and certainly there's an advantage to tolerances, but this camera(M3) seems to have a distinct character. There also something about the history of the others who've held this beauty.

    A little romantic? Perhaps, but this camera makes me want to shoot.

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    Super Moderator Cindy Flood's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    I agree. I love how my iiig and M2 feel and look. I enjoy all of the M's and find them so great to shoot with.

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    My M3/50mm rigid is off to DAG for a complete CLA and new vulcanite. Don seems very skilled and his reputation is well known. Leica even provided him with his own seal, "92" to replace the "L" seal on the lens mount. His prices were generally lower than others, but I've heard good things about Gus Lazzari's CLA work on Leica's too.

    Here's a pic taken with the "new" 50mm Summicron. I'll have to look at serial numbers, but I think this one is from 1958.
    Last edited by johnnygoesdigital; 10th April 2013 at 06:35.

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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Nippon camera in NYC did a great job restoring this baby back to its glory. 250 bucks for complete overhaul and a new shutter curtain

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    That looks like the Indiana Jones of cameras - nice photo!

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    Member ray*j*gun's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Don Goldberg (DAG) is a master he did work on my IIIc (k) when 2 other techs where afraid of the ball bearings. (Not Youxin Ye) but he is often very busy. If you have any questions RE old Leica RFF is a good place to lurk.

    Beautiful M3 good lick!!
    Raymond

  21. #21
    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: A "new" Leica M3

    Hi Raymond,

    Thanks for the tip, i'll look at RFF. My M3's CLA is complete, I can't wait to shoot with it.
    Now I might add a 90mm lens to the kit.

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