leica m3

classic rangefinder camera

Leica M3, with 35mm f/2.8, 50mm f/2, 90mm f/2, and 135mm f/4 lenses.

This is an early-60s model Leica M3. It is the single-stroke variant, meaning one push of the film advance lever is enough to advance to the next frame (the other variant requires two pushes). The original owner was the father of a friend, who had stored this camera in his garage for many years before I purchased it off him. When I took ownership, it was in need of some repair, so I found a specialist online and sent him the camera. The specialist cleaned and repaired the camera, replacing faulty parts and doing his best to make it fully functional once again.

The Leica M3 is a rangefinder camera – a camera type that was once the most popular, but now is much less common. The camera is entirely mechanical, there are no electronics in the M3 whatsoever. And so, focus and metering are based on the skill of the photographer. The camera forces the photographer to be in complete control over every aspect of each photo. It also looks like a sexy beast.

Here are some of my favorite photos I've taken with this Leica M3:

Rio Del Mar, September 2013, Neopan 400 Rio Del Mar, September 2013, Neopan 400 San Francisco, October 2013, Gold 400 Mississippi River, December 2013, Portra 400 Santa Clara, March 2014, Gold 400 San Francisco, April 2014, FP4+ San Francisco, April 2014, FP4+ Redding, April 2014, Ektar 100

First published on 2 Dec 2014; last updated on 12 May 2017.

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