Of course, to do the Leica Lessons project, I needed a Leica film rangefinder.
As I had no Leica camera, nor a rangefinder camera, I was completely free in my choice, so the first thing I did was dive into Wikipedia and find out what choices I had.
I then went over my requirements, and started scratching off options that didn’t fit:
- That leaves out the M8.
- Leica rangefinder
- No CL, which is not a Leica1 and no M1, which has no rangefinder.
- Scratch the M7, the MP, and possibly the M6
- No meter
- Anything from the M5 on is out.
That left the M3, M2 and M4.
After I then decided that my One Lens2 would be a 50mm, the choice became pretty easy. After all, only one camera had a perfect for 50mm 0.92x viewfinder magnification: The Leica M3.
And here she3 is: Leica M3 number 1067131, made in Wetzlar, Germany in 1963, she’s nearly 20 years my senior.
The reasons I went for this one:
- She had been CLA‘d just before sale.
- She’s a bit beaten up (there’s a nice big dent next to the rewind knob, for example), which meant she was of no interest to collectors, keeping the price down4.
- She’s one of the later models, with a single-stroke advance lever and the less fragile metal pressure plate. Both things I consider preferable in a camera bought for shooting, as opposed to antiquity value (made it cheaper again).
- The seller was located in the Netherlands (like me), which prevented excess shipping costs and risks.
- If you’re using a Leica, you might as well behave like a Leica Man. [↩]
- To rule them all. [↩]
- All cameras are female of course: Expensive, incomprehensible and if you push the wrong buttons, things will look dark for you. [↩]
- I don’t care, I have a tendency to damage my cameras just so I can stop worrying about damaging them. [↩]